Good News: A Unique Harvest, Pull From The Brink, Drone Rescue and Much More

Inspiring stories from across the country that offer solutions to critical situations 

Ishani Nandi Updated: Sep 7, 2021 21:37:21 IST
(Left) IFS Officer Vaibhav Singh; (Right) One of the hundreds of chal kahls constructed to harvet rainwater that helps restore the fragile terrain of the Rudraprayag hills.

A Unique Harvest

Environment: The verdant hills pepper-ing our country’s north may appear to be picture-perfect idylls, but the area is beset by serious problems that remain largely unnoticed by all but local residents. The pine-covered Himalayan region of Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand,for example is plagued by landslides, forest fires and a shortage of freshwater supply to settlements. Soil erosion during unpredictable monsoon showers also causes unstable terrain as well as heavy silting and flooding of rivers. But Indian Forest Service officer and Divisional Forest officer Vaibhav Singh seems up to the task. Under his aegis, several soil preservation measures and rainwater harvesting structures were set up, and the results speak for themselves. Along with trenches, check dams and percolation pits, a total of 612 chalkahls (man-made ponds) with the capacity to collect more than 10 million litres of water were made in the last year alone. Around 400 hectares of degraded land have also been restored.It just goes to show that age-old, tried-and-tested techniques, assiduously enforced, can truly change the face of a faltering landscape.

Pulled from the Brink

Service: Amidst continuing stresses and crises in everyday lives, and a lack of the required awareness and support for mental health issues, our ability to cope is very often tested to its very limits and many seek escape by ending it all. Pulling people back from the edge. is no mean task but 45-year-old M. Eshwaraiah from Maheshwaram,Hyderabad, a home-guard officer with the Saroornagar Lake Police, does this time and time again—literally. Over the last six months, he has rescued more than 10 people attempting suicide by diving into Saroornagar Lake. “Most of the people coming to the lake to end their lives are either depressed with family issues or financial problems or relationship issues,” says Eshwaraiah. “I try to reach the person within a few minutes of being alerted by the patrol mobile or the police control room. I put in every possible effort and ensure they do not drown in the lake and pull them out to safety,” Eshwariah says. While alert first-responders like Eshwariah are critical to suicide prevention strategies and save lives, here’s hoping that support systems soon develop enough to make this line of work obsolete.

Drones to the Rescue

Technology: In a clear example of using the power of new-age tech for good, students from Government Engineering College in Thrissur have devised a way to use drones to locate stranded, lost or injured people during natural disasters such as floods and landslides particularly in remote areas with low connectivity. The team—Sruthi MS,Nandana VN, Lakshmi S and ManalJaleel Poovathingal—from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering department devised the innovation for their final-year project under an assistant professor’s supervision. “The drone uses a feature that marks the location of detected people on a map and transmits real-time information to rescuers,” says Sruthi. “The drone was completed using the parts which were open-sourced. It is cheaper when compared to commercial drones. The technical assistance was provided by the International Centre for Open Source Software,” said the team.

No Mountain Too High

Public Health: For the team of officials in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, there’s no time to rest when it comes to fulfilling their duty. To ensure no one is left behind in getting the CO-VID vaccine, the group, led by TawangDistrict Magistrate, Sang Phuntsok, undertook a nine-hour journey crossing mountains, forests and a river to reachDomtsang, a village along the Indo-Tibetan border at 14,000 feet, where 16 locals missed getting their jabs during a special drive conducted in May.

image-19_081421024051.jpgCOVID vaccine drive in remote Domstang


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